Item: Crushers, Ramblers to resume Maritime Hockey League series tonight in Amherst.
There was an article in The News last week, as the Crushers anticipated having to go into Amherst Stadium and play before what is considered a rowdy crowd, which will be even more boisterous because this is the playoffs, and we all know the intensity gets ramped up during the post-season, on the ice and in the stands. If a team can't elevate their level of intensity, they'll likely be making a quick exit from the playoff party.
Some players might get intimated in that kind of situation – invading a hostile environment and having to deal with fans who are almost on top of them, up close and no doubt saying things too personal – while others would see it as spine-tingling good fun.
When the Crushers do head up to Amherst for tonight's Game 2, the perfect scenario would see them getting off to a quick lead to shut up the fans, and take them right out of the game so they are less of a factor. If Amherst gets off to a fast start, that is something the Crushers will have to battle through. Either way, fan involvement is an interesting factor in a playoff series like this one. I've been to enough Crushers' playoff games to know that once the real games begin, Pictou County fans understand that this is the time to amp up their intensity, as well. They might be quiet in the regular season, relatively speaking, but hockey fans in this county know what to do at playoff time.
I don't think the Crushers will look past Amherst – they'd be crazy to think this series will be a walk in the park – but the Crushers should take the series in six games.
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Item: Pictou County Junior B Scotians lose Game 7, Strait Pirates score series-winner with one second left in the third period.
That was just... heartbreaking, maybe worse than losing in overtime. It'd almost be better to lose 5-0 in a deciding game.
Yeah, the Scotians at one point held a 3-2 lead in the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League series, and yeah, they lost a seventh game at home, and you fight all year to get that home-ice advantage, but that was no choke job on the part of the Scotians.
Give credit to the Strait Pirates, who obviously were playing to win as much as the Scotians, and got the last lucky bounce in a hard-fought series.
For the Scotians, it was a tough way to have their season end, though.
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Olivia Chow announces her candidacy for next autumn's mayoral election in Toronto.
While I have no idea if she would make a good mayor, she has a couple of things going for her:
1. She was married to the late Jack Layton, the former national leader of the NDP who died in 2011, and was considered by many accounts to be a politician with class, one who was respected by many Canadians. Fair or not, she'll score political points just by the association.
2. She's no Rob Ford. I'm not implying Rob Ford is completely classless, but if he does have some class it'd be awfully nice to see it once in awhile.
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Item: Canadian tennis player Milos Raonic knocks off reigning Wimbledon champion Andy Murray at the BNP Paribas Open.
Now, the BNP Paribas Open is not a major tennis championship, but it's pretty close, attracting many of the world's top players for the two-week tournament in Indian Wells, California.
It was a very good win for Raonic – Murray was the biggest dragon he's ever slayed in his career – but he couldn't follow it up, losing in the quarterfinals to some guy named Alexandr Dolgopolov (yeah, I know). Raonic will probably never crack the Top 3 because his footwork and groundstrokes aren't quite good enough, but he'll always be dangerous with that gigantic serve of his.
Kevin Adshade is a sports columnist for The News.